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Chaos, Near Riot Ensues at Saks Shoe Sale

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 29, 2011 5:49 AM

Black Friday can be bad. But Saks Fifth Avenue has proved that the day after Christmas can be even worse.

A 4-hour, 60% off shoe sale at the retailer's New York City store devolved into a Saks shoe mob Monday morning. Elbows were swinging, patrons were fighting over merchandise, and there was a lot of cutting in line.

Saks shoppers got so unruly, security had to evacuate the entire floor 30 minutes before the deadline. You know shoppers were mad, but what were they thinking?

This crazed shopper's video offers some insight:

We've gone over the perils of poorly planned sales many times before. You can be sued for all sorts of shopping injuries, including slip and falls and trampling. False advertising also comes to mind.

As evidenced by the Saks shoe mob, good security and a good game plan could prevent most of these injuries. It's imperative to monitor lines and the number of people allowed to shop at one time. No one needs a visit from the fire marshal -- or a lawyer.

But one thing we rarely talk about is a shopper's state of mind. If the above video is any indication, crazy shoppers are, well, a little crazy. Ordinarily, these people would know what they're doing is wrong. But given the promise of a good discount, all bets are off.

How do you deal with people who have left their common sense (and decency) at home?

Carefully, that's how. The last thing you want is a shopper attacking your employees when they say the wrong thing. That's just going to cost you in hospital bills and time off. So consider training employees in the art of tactfully "disarming" a sale-goer. You really don't want a Saks shoe mob on your hands.

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